The F1 tour bus parks in Montreal this weekend, as the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve prepares to host the Canadian Grand Prix for the 32nd time. The track, encapsulated in the picturesque setting of a man-made island, has certainly delivered some spectacular action over the years, with its characteristics conducive of excellent racing – long straights, followed by slow corners and kerbs which reward bravery – it is a formula which almost invariably delivers.
- The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, (originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit), in the heart of Montreal was built in 1978.
- The race consists of 70 laps.
- Michael Schumacher recorded an outstanding seven Canadian Grand Prix victories – a record number.
- The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix is widely regarded as the greatest race in the history of the sport, as Jenson Button passed Sebastian Vettel on the final lap of the race to claim the most unlikely of race victories.
- Robert Kubica’s only career victory came at Canada in 2008 – an event in which Kubica left leading the championship.
And now for a fact you probably haven’t heard before…
- No driver has ever won the Canadian Grand Prix starting lower than 10th.
Rewind 12 Months…
The Canadian Grand Prix once again made the headlines, playing host to yet another classic race. The venue is notorious for having a high attrition rate, with heavy braking zones after long straights placing huge emphasis on those all important pieces of carbon which provide the bulk of the deceleration. Of course, brake-by-wire has complicated the situation and in 2014, Mercedes suffered as a result of a rather susceptible MGU-K.
With their lead over their rivals evaporating by three seconds per lap, the Mercedes duo continued to fight for supremacy, until a total rear brake failure forced Lewis Hamilton out of the race. Nico Rosberg soon found a train of cars in close company, with Perez, Ricciardo, Vettel and Massa vying for the victory. A bold move to dispatch Perez gave Ricciardo a chance to pass a limping Rosberg, which he duly grabbed with just three laps remaining.
The Aussie took a popular maiden victory, ahead of the weary Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel joining his teammate on the rostrum in third, as Massa and Perez’s battle ended in the barriers.
Considering the unpredictable nature of Monaco’s streets, a 44 point return in Autosport’s GP Predictor was ample, particularly considering that for the first time in 2015 I correctly predicted the winner of the event, (*cue applause*). Here are my predictions for this weekend plus some hints on what to look out for;
- With Pirelli bringing the supersoft compound for the second race in succession, Ferrari could be a threat to Mercedes again this weekend and I expect Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to keep the Mercedes duo honest throughout Sunday’s race. The stickiest of Pirelli’s rubber-range should also be of benefit to Force India.
- Mercedes will hope that they have resolved the brake-by-wire fault which threatened to derail Hamilton’s cruise to victory in Bahrain and cost Rosberg second place in the event earlier this year. If not, a repeat of 2014 is a possibility, which could open the door for Ferrari.
- While the high speed nature of the circuit will play into the hands of Williams, Lotus could struggle, with the E23 faltering where traction has been critical so far this season. They could find the five key traction zones costly for lap time.
Image Credit: "2011 Canadian Grand Prix" By ph-stop (via Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0]